Gryphons top Whitmore Lake at Crisler Center


Photo by Rishi Verma '23

SHE SHOOTS: Hamzavi ‘23 shoots a free throw after getting fouled on a made layup. “Given it might have been my last ever high school play, I don’t really know how to speak on it, just a lot of emotions,” said Hamzavi.

Rishi Verma '23, School Staff

The Gryphons young Varsity Women’s Basketball team got their first win of the season Dec. 8, and that too, at a venue different from the ordinary high school game. They had the opportunity to play at the home of Michigan basketball.

“We got a call from the Whitmore Lake athletic director and women’s basketball coach asking if we would be interested in playing [them] at Crisler Center,” said Assistant Director of Athletics Lisa Hogan. “We split the court rental fee with Whitmore Lake and each school got 150 tickets to either sell or, in our case, give out to their student body.”

Varsity Women’s Basketball coach Janelle Sterling was excited at the prospect of playing at a venue such as Crisler.

“It’s a great opportunity to play at Crisler. Really thankful for the athletic directors for making it happen,” said Sterling. “I know the girls are excited and as the seasons progressed a little bit I feel like we’re putting things together with this younger team and I’m hoping we can come out with a win.”

The players were also ready for the prospect of playing at Crisler.

“It’s just a really exciting venue to get to play a game at. That’s where we always watch the Michigan players play and I never thought I’d get to play a game at Crisler,” said Captain Meezan Hamzavi ‘22. “But at the same time, the game stays the same and we just need to go out there, try and play good basketball, and come out with a win.”

The venue was certainly big.

“We expected it to feel different, but it was really a different feeling as a fan,” said spectator Sydney Rosenberg ‘22. “It was super fun and the game just felt bigger and it seemed like all the players were really going that extra mile.”

The Gryphons got off to a fast 10-2 start, ending the first quarter up 10-4. They carried that lead all game and never trailed Whitmore Lake. Whitmore Lake showed glimpses of clawing back with the score being 20-14 after the second quarter. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter, captain Hamzavi went to the ground after a push from a Whitmore Lake player and did not return to the game with an apparent knee injury. 

“It was definitely hard to stay focused and continue to try and give our all to win without Meezan,” said captain Riya Naryan ‘23. 

Sterling had to fight to stay focused on the game as well.

“I have a really close relationship with Meezan, as her coach, but also from being her grade dean last year and seeing her everyday in the school building,” said Sterling. “I was definitely worried for her, but we knew she was in good hands and the best thing we can do for her is to go out and finish the game with a win.”

The Gryphons lead 28-22 going into the fourth. Whitmore Lake’s best effort was in the fourth quarter, cutting the Gryphon lead to 28-27 with 3.6 seconds to go. It was only fitting that the whole game which seemed to be dictated by defense ended with two defensive efforts. First, Whitmore Lake, getting a strong stop to take possession of the ball with 1.4 seconds remaining. The Gryphons would not be denied though and put up a defensive stop of their own with the clock running to zero and ending with a miss shot from Whitmore Lake.

“I’m happy we were able to get our first win of the season,” said Naryan. “It got tight at the end but we all really wanted it and I think our will pulled us through in the end.

The Gryphons still remember their games against Whitmore Lake last year.

“We lost to Whitmore Lake twice last year and the second time was season ending, in the semifinals of districts, so this being our first win of the season feels great,” said Hamzavi. “As for me, I’m not really sure of a diagnosis on my knee, but I’m just trying to stay positive and hold onto hope that I may get to finish my senior season on the court.”

The Gryphons have a double header with their next game being tomorrow at home against Bishop Foley.

“We’re hoping to take the momentum from our win today into tomorrow and just try and do it again,” said captain Sophia Bleakly Wasserman ‘22. “We won’t have Meezan, who’s a big part of our team on both sides of the floor but I’m confident in this team’s chemistry and every game we play without her will just be extra motivation for us to win.”